Although his name may be hard to pronounce, Ralph Fiennes' (pronounced 'Rafe Fine') reputation as one of Hollywood's most respected actors isn't difficult to understand at all. Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes was born on December 22, 1962 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. He received his acting training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988, performing in such plays as Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear and Love's Labour's Lost.
He made his film debut in 1992 as 'Heathcliff' in the film adaptation of Emily BrontÃ«'s Wuthering Heights, romancing Juliette Binoche's 'Catherine,' a role which garnered critical acclaim for the actor throughout Europe. In 1993 he achieved international stardom for portraying the sadistic Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Goeth in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning Schindler's List. For this he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and won a BAFTA Award for his performance.
He went on to star as academic Charles Van Doren in Robert Redford's drama recounting the true story of the Twenty One quiz show scandal of the 1950s, Quiz Show. In 1995, Ralph earned the distinction of being the only actor to ever win a Tony Award for playing Hamlet on Broadway. From stage to screen, his next role in the sweeping, WWII-era romantic epic The English Patient in 1996 earned Ralph his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
Throughout his career, Ralph has made an effort to play roles in a wide array of film genres, including drama, comedy (Maid in Manhattan), action-adventure (The Avengers), thrillers (Red Dragon) and even animation (Wallace and Grommit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.) He tackled the villainous 'Lord Voldemort' in the fourth film in the successful Harry Potter series, 2005's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and again for 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. One doesn't need a crystal ball or magical powers to predict a long and successful career for this versatile actor.
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